Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
As we settle into the Easter season and as I think about the reality of the new life we have in Christ, I can’t help but reflect on our new identity in Christ, and our call by God, to serve and love others and his church, his Bride. In the church, we call this stewardship – the use of our time, talents and treasures to serving the Lord. Over the next few weeks let’s look at our stewardship, in response to our life in Christ.
Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…
Stewardship: His Call, Our Response
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11
I live in awe of the love that God has for me, for you, for mankind; that he would take upon himself my burden and punishment of sin and pay that hefty price tag, just so that he could make the way for me, for you, for all, to be with him for eternity, as he intended man’s relationship with him to be. He purchased us with his life and for that I am ever thankful. Then he promised never to leave us nor forsake us; he desires to continue to watch over, bless, and care for us. Then to top it off, he uses us – broken, ragged, imperfect individuals – to be his light and blessing to others. It is then our privilege to give him thanks and praise. It is my desire to serve him with all I am. May it be your desire too! But what does this service, this thank offering of ourselves, this call as his bride, look like?
Well, practically speaking, over the years I have come to acknowledge two very important aspects of serving. The first is the ongoing service to those that God puts in our life. We serve the Lord by all we do in our days that helps others, whether it’s at work, in our home, at the grocery store, or anywhere. We serve others as if serving the Lord Himself.
The other aspect of serving the Lord is our intentional service and care of Christ’s body- our Church and church family. Just like any healthy household and family, we need to work together in unity to care for those within the family of individual Christians, and to take responsibility for the practical needs of maintenance and expenses, as well as, to further the gospel.
[Side note: Please, let me clarify that a church, with it’s programs and Worship, isn’t an organization where you simply go and utilize its services, like a grocery store or fitness centre. With or without the building, church is the people – the coming together of Christians to worship their Lord and fulfill Jesus’ command to go and make disciples, and to grow and be fed in the Word TOGETHER. It is a household with a mission and each family member, living in the trust of God’s love, grace and salvation in Christ, responds in unified thanksgiving to serve within the congregation to fulfill its needs. Faith in Christ’s salvation automatically makes you a member of his body, a member of his church; not to live alone in your faith but to be an active part of the body. For what part of the body can survive when separated from the whole body? So, if you currently do not have a church home or have not thought of yourself as a needed and important member of your Christian church body, perhaps it’s time to make that shift. Do you believe in Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Do you wish to respond to his Easter sacrifice with your words and acts of thanksgiving? If you said yes, then I encourage you to respond to God’s call as a member of his body, of which Christ is the head, and become a member within a Christian congregation; a family member that works and grows and helps for the good of the gospel.]
In the past, many of these two aspects of service – serving those around you and serving in your church- were all part and parcel of the same community of people, and the church building was a prominent part of that community. However, for many Christians today, the church, its members and its needs can be distinctly separate from people’s everyday lives. This is not a bad thing; it’s just the way it is. However, God’s call for us to serve has not changed. So how does that look for you? Do you take time to worship him regularly with other fellow Christians? Do you or can you share your time and abilities with needs within your church? Do you serve because you feel obligated, or because you desire to show your gratitude and love to him and his children? (Remember God does not desire for us to serve him because we ‘have’ to.) These are big questions and if you have not truly thought of your position in the family of God through Christ like this, than it can create a shift in your thinking – and in your life’s schedule. You are needed. You are an integral part of Christ’s body and God has prepared good works in advance for you to do which are displayed as you serve in thanksgiving to all he has done for you. It is our privilege to serve him, his Church and others. It’s what he’s called us to be and do. May God bless your service of time, talents, and treasures to his glory for his church and to all those he puts in your life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you have called me to serve you and there is a lot involved in that word ‘serve’. Help me to first and foremost be open to serving and loving those you put in my path throughout my day. Help me not to be so busy that I can’t see the needs of others. Despite my shortcomings, may my service provide an opportunity for those to see your love for them. Also, guide me to be honest about my serving at ____(name of church here)_____. Help me to see the needs of the church. Help me to regularly worship you in weekly services with my fellow family members in Christ, as my thank offering of myself back to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!
Reflection: May the next few days give you an opportunity to reflect on your service to those in your life, and to reflect on your service to the church family.
- Consider the ways you serve your Lord and Saviour by serving those in your day.
- Do you serve in some capacity in the church? If not, why not? If so, why are you serving; what is your attitude towards your service?
- Consider your service to your church and activities, to the members. Reconsider those acts of service where you feel you do it because you ‘have’ to. Remember: God does not desire us to serve because we feel that we ‘have to’. He desires us to serve him willingly and joyfully. Pray that God fills you with a heart of gratitude, love and eagerness as you consider your service to him in your church and in your every day.